Acronis Resource Center

My Usb Flash Drive Doesn't Save All The Data I'm Writing To It

Having one of the new, tiny flash "disk" drives can be a lifesaver if you have to carry a lot of data with you, but some users find them more of a challenge than a benefit. In some cases, it might simply be a matter of assuming that saving data to a flash drive is instantaneous. It isn't.

It might be the case that you are simply not giving the flash drive enough time to record all the data before you remove the key from the computer. In other cases, your operating system might require you to use the "safe removal" or "unmount" command. These are two key reasons why your flash drive might not be working properly.

Even though USB storage devices appear like a conventional drive to the computer, they are a good deal slower than a hard disk or CD-ROM burner. Unplugging the key too soon is guaranteed to leave you with at best a partial download and at worst, an unusuable storage device.

Most USB drives have an LED or other indicator to show when the device is active. If the LED is flashing, it means there is activity between the drive and the computer. Wait until the LED is glowing steadily before removing the drive from the computer.

With Windows Me and Windows 2000, you must use the "safely remove" command before you can remove a USB drive. Otherwise you can lose data still in the write cache. Double-click the safe removal icon in the notification area at the lower right of your screen. The "unplug or eject hardware" screen will pop up. Choose the USB drive from the menu and click stop. Then you can safely remove the drive.

With Linux, you must unmount the drive using the Linux unmount command sequence.

Think of removing the USB drive as removing a traditional disk drive. If you disconnect any disk drive in the middle of a write action, you will loose data. If you remove the drive while writing a directory, it is possible that you could lose everything on the drive. No, the data won't be deleted, but the computer will have no way of determining where in memory the data is located. The results are the same: a corrupted drive.